How Teeth Whitening Affects Dental Health
Of all the cosmetic dental options, whitening is by far the easiest, least expensive, and most widely available. There are plenty of in-home and professional whitening treatments available for Onalaska residents, each offering different results at varying prices. Information on cost and types of whitening treatments is everywhere, but Dr. Ochsner would like you to know how each treatment works, the results you can expect, and how your teeth will be affected. If you have any questions or would like to schedule a whitening treatment, please call us at Neighborhood Smiles.
Whitening Effects: The Facts
Most Onalaska residents consider using some form of teeth whitening, or bleaching, at least once. With all the options available, it’s hard not to think about it. However, it is important to understand how whitening your teeth may affect your dental health, so here’s a guide to how each process works:
Whitening Toothpaste and Mouthwash: Using mild abrasives and low concentrations of peroxide, these products break up stains, polish, and whiten teeth. If used properly, they are completely safe and very rarely cause anything other than a mild increase in sensitivity.
Whitening Strips: Over-the-counter whitening strips are a very popular option in Onalaska. They are polyethylene strips coated with hydrogen and/or carbamide peroxide designed to bleach teeth and break up stains. Hydrogen peroxide acts as a powerful whitening agent as it oxidizes, while carbamide peroxide breaks down into hydrogen peroxide and urea. Urea is an acid that takes apart stains to aid in whitening. If used properly, these treatments are safe and effective, and may only cause mild sensitivity that lasts until the treatment period has ended. However, overuse and improper application can cause severe gum irritation and actually damage gums and enamel. The American Dental Association generally considers all over-the-counter whitening products to be safe, but recommends visiting Dr. Ochsner to be sure that they are the right fit for you.
Professional/In-Office Whitening Treatments: These treatments use high-grade ingredients with higher concentrations of peroxide and sometimes involve a specialized light source, which accelerates and intensifies whitening results. Although they include stronger peroxide, in-office whitening treatments are administered during only one or two sessions, under the supervision of trained dental professionals. For this reason, and because they require less peroxide exposure than the multiple-week whitening strip treatments, they are much less likely to cause any harm. They also last longer, up to five years. Temporary sensitivity may occur.
Here are some more facts about teeth whitening treatments:
- Used properly, they do not affect the hardness or mineral content of tooth enamel
- They are not generally effective on fluorosis (fluoride poisoning) stains or tetracycline stains (brownish antibiotic stains)
- They do not alter the color of or damage existing restorations (crowns, fillings, etc.)
- They do not harm the nerve structure in teeth
- They are more than 90% effective in whitening teeth
If you would like to learn more about how to brighten your smile, please give us a call at Neighborhood Smiles a schedule an appointment today.